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New members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Two new scholars joined the Dartmouth faculty this term: Meredith Kelly, assistant professor of earth sciences, and Lorenzo Torresani, assistant professor of computer sciences.

"I am thrilled to welcome these new colleagues," says Carol Folt, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences. "Their energy and creativity will bring further strength to two areas of innovation at Dartmouth-sustainability of the global environment and digital imaging and computational science."

Meredith Kelly
Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

kellyMeredith Kelly
Kelly works to understand how climate change happens, studying the past extents of ice sheets and mountain glaciers for the clues they hold to climate events both ancient (10,000 to 100,000 years ago) and more recent.

"I have ongoing projects in eastern Greenland, the Peruvian Andes, and in various locations in North America," she reports. "These projects provide information about high- and low-latitude climate systems and insights into the stability of the modern (Greenland and Antarctic) ice sheets in a warming world.

"One great aspect of the earth sciences department at Dartmouth is its off-campus program, the Stretch, which enables students to learn about geology and related topics in the field," says Kelly. "I look forward to participating in this program and also to developing hands-on laboratories, field trips, and projects associated with my classes." She will also be teaching "Introduction to Earth Sciences," with a new course on climate and paleoclimate on the horizon.

"The day after I moved here from New York City, there was at least a foot of new snow," she recalls. "It was a very nice welcome to New Hampshire! It is probably obvious from my research, but I love cold weather, snow, and ice."

Kelly comes to Dartmouth from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. She holds a Ph.D. in geological sciences from the University of Bern, Switzerland; an M.S. in Quaternary studies from the University of Maine; and a B.S. in geological sciences and environmental studies from Tufts University. Her work has been published in journals including Science, The Journal of Quaternary Science, Boreas, and Quaternary Science Reviews.

Lorenzo Torresani
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

torresanLorenzo Torresani
Torresani designs methods of computer vision and machine learning that allow computers to create visual models of real objects, using data extracted from images. "The learned models can then be used," he explains, "for synthesizing new data, or for recognition-such as identifying a person from the static image of a face."

Using video sequences to learn models of three-dimensional objects that change shape, "such as the face of a person as they are speaking," he notes, is also a goal. "We capture, in three dimensions, not only the object's underlying shape but also its 'deformations,' the alternate shapes it can take."

With a human face, for example, the model needs to capture it in a neutral configuration, and also as it is transformed by movements like blinking, smiling, or speaking. Once the model is developed, Torresani says, it can be used to create entirely new sequences of three-dimensional shapes that are consistent with the original object studied.

Torresani will be teaching a new course, "Machine Learning and Statistical Data Analysis," this spring. "The study of concrete examples is the best way to grasp new ideas," he says. "I use real-world problems to introduce general solutions, both to make concepts less abstract, as well as to expose students to the challenges of real applications."

A native of the Italian Alps, Torresani says, "I used to do lots of skiing, hiking, and mountain biking, and am looking forward to resuming these activities in the mountains surrounding Hanover."

Torresani comes to Dartmouth from Microsoft Research, Cambridge (UK). He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in computer science from Stanford, and a Laurea (the Italian B.A.), also in computer science, from the University of Milan. His work is widely published in journals and conference proceedings, including IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence and the European Conference on Computer Vision.

By KELLY SEAMAN

 

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Last Updated: 1/29/09